After many years of debate, Fort Worth researchers identified this site in 1957 as the location of the city's first Masonic lodge. For more than twenty years, lodge members met in a two story hall at this location. The group organized in 1854 and received its charter the following year as Fort Worth Masonic Lodge No. 148, A.F. & A.M. Members initially rented space for meetings and began construction on their own lodge hall in 1857. The new building offered space for lodge functions on the second floor, which was a single room, and the Masonic group operated a school on the ground level. The first floor space was divided into two rooms and was available for public meetings and church services.
Donated to the lodge by Middleton T. Johnson, the site of the lodge once lay outside the city's populated area. The hall sat well beyond the old fort grounds, and even at about four blocks east of the public square it was built on unplatted land outside the city's business district. Although plain in appearance, the red-brick building signified progress and civilization. Its two stories faced west with a bell tower over the main entrance. In 1871, Lawrence Steel, a member, sold the lodge an English-made bell (c. 1782) that became known as the Masonic bell. It rang to announce stagecoach arrivals, fires and the start of the school day.
By 1878, the Masons had outgrown their lodge hall at this site, and they moved to a new building at Second and Main. Lodge No. 148 has continued to be a strong presence in the community, spawning an additional fifteen lodges in Fort Worth.